I joined a Book Club called “Contemporary Reads Book Club” some time back, and this is a book they will be reading for an upcoming session in March.
Set in Australia in the early 1920s, just after the Great War, “The Light Between Oceans” tells of a story between a lighthouse keeper and his wife who lives far removed from human community, at a lonely and deserted lighthouse at Janus Rock. The man was a soldier who had just returned from war, and his wife was a lovely young lady who had lost two brothers in the war. The couple were happily married and deeply in love but fraught with the sorrow of being childless, as the wife had lost three infants prematurely to the cruel fate of miscarriage. Childless, and alone on the island, one fateful day a boat drifts onto shore, on it a dead man, and in his arms a fragile, helpless and crying infant. This is when the story begins…
I must say this book brought me on an emotional roller coaster – there were moments in it when the main characters experienced so much joy and bliss, and I felt it alongside them, and there were moments with immense anguish, hurt, and even a sense of betrayal, that brought me down with them. The story explores different ideas of intentions, conscience, betrayal, and love. It questions whether good intentions lead to good outcomes, whether having a peace of mind equates joy and happiness, and whether sometimes ignorance is really bliss. It makes me ponder about how unexpected life can be, how two people who love each other so much can have such different ideas of what is right and wrong, and what is considered true love – doing what is right (& then again, what is considered right in a particular context?), or doing what makes someone happy.
Anyway, this was my favourite quote from the book, and it was at the beginning of the book when the two were still courting each other:
“If the war had taught her anything, it was to take nothing for granted: that it wasn’t safe to put off what mattered. Life could snatch away the things you treasured, and there was no getting them back.”
Don’t think I’m deep enough to dissect the themes in the book. But it definitely is a good read, if you are thinking about how your life could turn out – and the book teaches me, you never know. And the best you could do is to let your conscience guide you.
On another note, the book’s gonna be made into a movie, and I’ll definitely try to catch it when it’s out!